[Suspicions Of Devils] First Draft ‘Shopped

Got the first draft of Suspicions workshopped in class last week—and the feedback was somewhat mixed. A fair share like I’ve I got so far, a few think I went too far with the fantastical–I think it might have been the Cerberus Bear. In the interest of making the story fit the rather diminutive 5k word count, I have to agree that I’ve probably put in too much for it to really work. Working on paring it down and refocusing on a more “realistic—though still fantasy” story.

Oddly, the biggest contention point was the use of creatures that, to me anyway, are common knowledge. Here’s an example: an orc gets on the bus with James in the first scene and everyone was torn about what I called it. Some worried it being an orc carried too many connotations that would be missed on some readers, some felt I needed to call it something else, others felt that my description was too Warcraft and not enough Tolkein.

The disparity struck me as odd. Leading me to hazard a guess that most my class is probably not deeply steeped the in fantasy canon. Which creates a…unique situation. One that is both an opportunity and a potential disaster. In a story with only five thousands words, I don’t have the luxury of explaining every little creature I throw down. Since I would like to get this published, it would seem my audience is limited to only those with at least a cursory knowledge of what these things are. A problem indeed.

On the other hand though, this is—at heart—a detective noir. Something many people like, even if they don’t completely catch every nuance. On that thread, what’s to say that an orge or minotaur need any more explaining than just their names and what they’re wearing? Why not just run with it like they’re a normal thing—which in the setting they are—and leave it up to people’s imagination? In a way, that should work, it might even make people who wouldn’t read fiction consider picking up something fantastical.

Which comes back to my point above, that I need to keep this as reigned in as possible—even when the mood strikes me to go all over the place. Grounding this narrative in noir fiction gives it an edge that cuts through the need for a complete context. Hopefully I can pull that off…I’ve never quite been to hold back on a neat idea.

Wish me luck!


About Trevor Gulley

Trevor Gulley is a writer, cartoonist, and gamer. He works full time in the IT industry and judges Magic most weekends.

Posted on 10/18/2011, in Rants, School Work, Story, Theory and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. As a “B Flick” connoisseur I can tell you that with the advent of CGI in movies, creatures that had been similar in size and actions – regardless of movie – have now changed. It used to be that no matter what movie you were watching an orc was an orc and a goblin was a goblin. With CGI, the physical dimensions of these creatures have changed. There no longer seems to be common knowledge on what these beasties look like as each new film brings about a different version.
    Agree with you though in that a 5000 word limitation doesn’t provide you, the author, with a great deal of space to elaborate.

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